So I think Chris pretty well summed up my awesome coconut cracking skills, he's clearly jealous of the Hawaiian in me. After a nice treat going out to dinner last night at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen to enjoy some local seafood and getting a good night's sleep, we headed out on the boat around 11 am today. High seas predictions kept us away from the habitat again, the remnants of tropical depression Ana, but we prevailed and made a day of AUV test runs in shallower, near-shore water. We sent Fetch on a series of dives during which the goal was for her to complete a square and end up right about where she began. A strong current towards the east kept things from going exactly as planned, but all in all we had a pretty successful day, which included several dives in 3, 4 and 8 minute durations.
It wouldn't be a day in the field without some excitement though. Mark got into the water to test the pinger locator, a device used to find the robot underwater when we can't see it. Both Fetch and the good doctor cut it close with a commercial lobster boat. Some evasive maneuvering by me at the keyboard, along with Chris' coaching from the stern, kept Fetch out of harm's way and Mark will live to see another day. The afternoon ended with Mark and I doing our first SCUBA of the trip to test out the underwater housing for the HD video camera in preparation for tomorrow's broadcasts. A dive to about 20 feet showed no leaking into the housing, a very good sign, and Mark even got some great video of a conch and several reef fish around our boat. Check in tomorrow to read about how my interview with Sarina goes from inside the Aquarius underwater habitat and our on-the-water webinar (14:00 EDT)!